Saturday, May 28, 2011


Have you ever grown peanuts?  I did several years ago and decided it’s time to do it again.  Peanuts are fairly easy to grow. They take the same type of soil as growing potatoes.  They require a fairly long growing season - 120 to 150 days depending on the variety.  If you live in an area with a shorter growing season you can start them indoors about a month before the last frost. 

You don’t need to buy special seed.  Just go to the grocery store and buy raw peanuts.  If you buy seed from a nursery you will know exactly which variety you are buying but if you are just starting out growing peanuts then just buy the raw peanuts.  Peanuts grow best in loose, sandy, well drained soil but don’t let them get waterlogged or they will die. 

Plant peanuts after the last frost.  Soil temperature should be about 60°-65°F.  The best way to plant peanuts is to raise the row a little, planting the peanuts about 1 1/2 inches deep and about 3-6 inches apart. Germination will usually happen within 7-10 days, but a cool snap can delay it for longer.  You can leave the peanut in the shell but they will germinate faster if you shell the peanut (but leave the skin on, if possible, and don’t split the nut).

Peanuts need to be watered so the plants don’t get stressed but again, don’t waterlog them.  The blooms are bright yellow and will appear about 4-6 weeks after germination. Once a bloom has been pollinated, it sends down a shoot (called a peg) towards the ground, which eventually grows into the ground and forms the peanut pod. This is why the soil has to be a loose soil. 

Peanut plants grow in a fairly low spreading bush. Unlike potatoes, when the pods form they will be all around the bush and not growing from a central root stock.  In the fall the leaves of the peanut plant will turn yellow and dry up.  Dig them up then.  If you get a frost dig the plants up immediately.  If the soil is sandy enough you can dig the plants up by hand.  Otherwise you can use the same tool that you would use for digging potatoes. 
If the weather is dry out, after you dig up the plants shake off the loose soil then leave the plants upside down in the row – just like you leave onions out for a little to dry out the outer skin.  You should leave them out for about a week if it’s not going to rain or if you don’t have a critter problem (squirrels and rabbits will eat them if you don’t watch out).  If you are getting moisture or you have critters, then bring them in and spread them out to dry.  It will take a couple of weeks to dry if you aren’t doing it outside.  Don’t take the pods off the plants until after they have dried.  You can wash the pods in a sink full of water if you need to clean the soil off. 

Next is roasting them!  Place the peanuts on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.  Stir once or twice while they are baking.  It’s better to under cook them because you can always put them back into the oven.  Over cook them and you will have wasted wonderful food.  When you take the peanuts out of the oven don’t eat them yet.  Let them cool down a bit or they will still be soft.  They will continue to cook for a few more minutes.  Then eat and enjoy. 
Don’t forget to save raw peanuts for next year!  Keep them in their pods to protect them. 

No comments:

Post a Comment